RELEASE: Senator De León Calls out CalChamber on Retirement Hypocrisy - Anti-SB 1234 Arguments Defy Facts

August 28, 2012

SACRAMENTO – Senator Kevin De León (D-Los Angeles) today is requesting the California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber) immediately withdraw propaganda it is distributing that knowingly and willfully misleads Legislators about the facts regarding his Senate Bill 1234 (SB 1234) – the California Retirement Savings Trust Act.

“The Chamber knows the so-called facts it is communicating about SB 1234 are wrong,” said Senator De León. “It is important that the air be cleared so the bill can be considered on its merits.”

SB 1234 creates a privately run retirement option for the more than six million private sector workers without access to a plan at work. According to the UC Berkeley Labor Center, greater than 50% of these mostly low-to-middle income workers will retire into poverty given current conditions. Studies show that offering a retirement plan at work takes retirement planning participation from 5% to greater than 60%.

A leaflet distributed by the CalChamber at the Capitol reads, “SB 1234 Mandates Pensions for Private Employers.” SB 1234 is not a pension. It creates a defined contribution Individual Retirement Account (IRA) with an insurance backstop. If it is found to be an ERISA plan (which includes pensions), the bill states that the program will not move forward.

“I have been working with the CalChamber and other business groups since the introduction of this bill and have had an open ear to their concerns,” reiterated Senator De León. “In fact, we have amended the bill several times and the NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business) removed its opposition to the bill because of that collaboration. It is disappointing the CalChamber has resorted to this.”